Fall 2015 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Stott, Deborah
Discipline and Number
HUAS 7305 Section 001
R Time 10:00 AM - 12:45 PM
Course Title
Renaissance Women: Art & Reality

Description of Course:


"Did women have a Renaissance?" When historian Joan Kelly posed this question nearly 40 years ago, she concluded, based on analyses of normative literature such as Castiglione's *The Courtier,* that they did not. Contemporary scholars of social and women's history, however, frame the question less categorically and look more searchingly at the conditions and circumstances of early modern women's lives. In addition, the publication of women's writings and art historical reconsideration of women not just as subjects, but also as consumers and, occasionally, creators of art enable us to propose a more nuanced picture of women in Renaissance Italy.

Using the city-states of Renaissance Italy as our geographical and social focus, we will explore women's lives, both actual and ideal, through both textual and visual sources. Our consideration of women as a primary subject of art will take us from works that are the foundation of modern art history to domestic objects only recently added to art historical study. While most art was created by and for men, its message was often intended for women, and recognition of this can reveal attitudes towards and assumptions about both men and women. Among the most interesting contributions of recent art history has been the discovery of women patrons of art. While a few noblewomen, such as Isabella d'Este of Mantua, have been thoroughly studied, recent scholarship has added a surprising number of more humble women paying for both art and architecture.

Required Texts:


Art and Love in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Andrea Bayer. Yale and London: Yale University Press, 2009.

Fredrika H. Jacobs. Picturing the Renaissance "Virtuosa": Women Artists and the Language of Art History and Criticism. Cambridge, Eng. and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999


Paola Tinagli, Women in Italian Renaissance Art: Gender, representation, identity. Manchester, Eng. and New York: Manchester University Press, 1997

These books will be available on Reserve at McDermot Library. Used copies are available on-line for considerably below the price for new.

Additional readings will be taken from periodicals and anthologies and will be available online through the library. Also, I will post on-line PowerPoint files with relevant images.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Class attendance, reading assignments, and active participation in class discussion
Leading class discussion of one scholarly article
A final research paper based on the subject of the class, about 20 pages

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